UK
15/11/2013 07:22 GMT | Updated 15/11/2013 07:40 GMT

London Cyclists A 'Wobble' From Disaster, Says Bernard Hogan-Howe

Cyclists 'one wobble' from disaster
PA/National News
Cyclists 'one wobble' from disaster

Cyclists are "one wobble" from disaster on London's roads, Britain's top cop has said.

Metropolitan Police commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe said the recent death toll on the capital's streets was a "tragedy" and urged both cyclists are drivers to take care.

His comments, on LBC radio, came after a cyclist waited in agony for an hour after being knocked off his bike by a lorry.

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Campaigners have demanded a response after five cyclist deaths in London in nine days. A total of 13 bike users have been killed on London's roads so far this year.

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Hogan-Howe said: "It's a tragedy that we've had so many deaths in the last few days. I think overall it looks as though there are fewer cycle deaths per cycle journey, but that's no comfort to the poor families who've lost someone.

"We've all got to think about the way that we drive and the way that we cycle. It is difficult for the drivers. They're big vehicles, they can't always see out properly but they've got to take a little bit more care. When you've got such a big vehicle, then obviously they can be killing machines.

"Equally, if you've got your own cycle, you've got to abide by the rules of the road and you've got to think about your own safety."

The force runs a scheme called Exchanging Places where cyclists and lorry drivers swap to understand how each views the road.

Sir Bernard said: "We've got the Met's Exchanging Places scheme and that's where cyclists and lorry drivers swap places and see the roads from each other's perspective and 95% of the cyclists who took part said they would never have understood just how difficult it is for lorry drivers. There's huge blind spots.

"But equally, the drivers have got to think that but for a wobble, they could be in front of a vehicle. I think for many people, we've all got to think carefully about how we drive and how we cycle."

The latest victim, 24-year-old Venera Minakhmetova from Bethnal Green, east London, was killed in an accident involving a lorry at the Bow roundabout in east London during the rush hour on Wednesday.

It is thought she and the lorry were travelling west along the A11 when the collision occurred. The male lorry driver stopped at the scene and spoke to police. There have been no arrests.

Just a few minutes after the Bow death, a male cyclist, believed to be in his 30s, was badly injured in a collision with a lorry in Millbank, central London. He remains in a critical condition.

The previous day IT consultant and courier Roger William De Klerk, 43, was fatally injured when he was hit by a bus as he rode his bike near East Croydon train station.

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